Vision Therapy and Visual Processing – Los Angeles and Orange County

Unlocking Potential: Many Learning Difficulties Are Vision Problems Which Can Be Improved with Vision Therapy

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Vision Therapy @
Visual Processing Institute

At the Visual Processing Institute, we go beyond traditional eye care. Our team uses cutting-edge technologies to transform how you see and interact with the world. We’re not simply about glasses or eye checkups – we focus on optimizing your brain’s ability to process visual information for greater success in life.

We collaborate with healthcare professionals across various specialties to treat a wide range of visual disorders, from those present at birth to those resulting from brain injuries or strokes. Our expertise includes:

  • Strengthening visual skills essential for learning, reading, and focus
  • Rehabilitating visual function after brain injuries
  • Remedying coordination and balance issues
  • Enhancing sports performance through specialized vision training


Our Sports Vision Training program adapts clinically proven vision therapy techniques to boost athletes’ visual processing and performance. Just like physical training, we target your eyes and brain for sharper skills and a competitive edge.

Dr. Kalie McCartin, an experienced Neuro-Optometrist and owner of a technologically advanced practice, is dedicated to improving the visual process beyond 20/20 vision. With a background in Biology and Optometry from prestigious institutions, she specializes in pediatric vision therapy and rehabilitation for brain injuries. Dr. McCartin’s commitment to excellence is evident through her awards, memberships in professional associations like the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitative Association and the International Sports Vision Association, and ongoing pursuit of fellowships. She actively contributes to the optometric community and stays updated with the latest research. Outside of work, Dr. McCartin enjoys the South Bay’s lifestyle with her children, engaging in outdoor activities and community involvement. Her passion for helping others and her expertise make her a valued member of the optometric field in Southern California.

Why Is My Bright Child Struggling in School? Vision Issues You Might Be Missing

As parents, we want the best for our children. We celebrate their intelligence, encourage their curiosity, and do our best to support their academic journey. So, when a bright child begins to struggle in school, some are quick to point out stating the learning difficulties are ADHD or worse, it can be both baffling and heartbreaking to later find out it isn’t. Poor grades, frustration with reading, headaches, or avoidance of schoolwork can quickly erode a child’s confidence and love of learning.

While there are many potential reasons for academic difficulties, there’s one often overlooked area that deserves closer examination: vision. When we think of vision problems, blurry eyesight requiring glasses often comes to mind. But there’s much more to seeing clearly than simply 20/20 vision. Hidden vision problems that can sabotage a child’s learning may go undetected by standard eye exams.

Understanding Learning Difficulties – Related Vision Problems

Learning is a complex process that relies heavily on our visual system. It’s not just about seeing letters sharply, but also about how efficiently the eyes and brain work together to process and understand visual information. Difficulties in the following areas can significantly impact a child’s ability to learn and thrive in school:

  • Focusing Issues: Difficulty shifting focus smoothly between near and far objects (like the board and their desk) can make schoolwork tiring and lead to blurry vision.
  • Eye Tracking Problems: Trouble accurately following a line of text impacts reading fluency and comprehension. Children may skip lines, lose their place, or read slowly.
  • Eye Teaming Deficiencies: When the eyes don’t coordinate perfectly, it can cause double vision, headaches, and difficulty sustaining focus, especially during close-up work.
  • Visual-Motor Integration: Poor hand-eye coordination can affect handwriting, sports performance, and tasks requiring precise visual guidance.
  • Visual Memory: Weaknesses in recalling visual information can make it harder to remember sight words, spelling patterns, or what was just read.
  • Visual Discrimination: Difficulties distinguishing similar-looking letters or shapes can impact reading and spelling.

How Vision Disorders Can Mimic Learning Disabilities

Frustrated parents often seek diagnoses like ADHD or dyslexia when their child struggles academically. While these conditions are certainly important to rule out, it’s crucial to understand that vision problems can cause remarkably similar symptoms:

  • Inattention and Difficulty Concentrating: A child struggling to focus their eyes, battling headaches, or experiencing discomfort may appear easily distracted or inattentive.
  • Reading and Writing Difficulties: Slow reading, word reversals, poor spelling, and messy handwriting can be caused by both dyslexia and various visual processing issues.
  • Behavioral Changes: Frustration due to undiagnosed vision problems can lead to acting out in class, avoidance of schoolwork, or a drop in self-esteem.

How Vision Therapy Can Help

Image of child engaged in vision therapy activities

Vision therapy is a highly effective and non-invasive treatment option for many vision problems that hamper learning. Unlike glasses or surgery, which primarily address eyesight, vision therapy retrains the brain’s visual processing abilities.

Here’s how it works:

  • Personalized Program: After a comprehensive eye and vision exam, a specialized optometrist creates a customized therapy plan based on your child’s specific needs.
  • Targeted Exercises & Activities: Therapy often involves eye exercises, specialized lenses and prisms, computerized tools, and activities designed to strengthen visual skills.
  • Brain Training: Think of it as physical therapy for the visual system, improving communication pathways between the eyes and the brain.

What to Expect from Vision Therapy

  • Improvement in Visual Skills: Vision therapy directly addresses the underlying causes of learning-related vision problems, leading to improved focusing, eye coordination, visual tracking, and more.
  • Boosted Academic Performance: As visual skills become stronger, reading fluency, comprehension, and overall school performance often improve significantly.
  • Increased Confidence: Overcoming visual obstacles unlocks a child’s potential, boosting their self-esteem and motivation to learn.

The Importance of Early Intervention

If left unaddressed, vision-related learning problems can have long-lasting consequences. Children may develop a negative association with school, fall further behind their peers, or experience social and emotional difficulties due to their struggles.

Children struggling in school often get misdiagnosed with learning disabilities when the root cause may be hidden vision problems. These issues go beyond 20/20 eyesight and include difficulties with focusing, eye coordination, and visual processing. Vision therapy offers a solution. This specialized treatment targets those specific visual skills, often leading to improvements in reading, focus, and overall academic success. Early intervention is key to help children reach their full potential.

Call to Action

Is your child struggling in school? Don’t overlook the potential impact of vision problems. Contact the Visual Processing Institute today to schedule a comprehensive child eye and vision exam.

Locations: Vision Therapy Newport Beach, Vision Therapy Torrance, Vision Therapy San Juan Capistrano, Vision Therapy Los Angeles

Social Pages: LinkedIn – Vision Therapy

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  1. American Optometric Association (AOA) – AOA is a trusted source for information on vision and eye care, providing resources about vision problems in children and the importance of early detection and treatment.

  2. College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) – COVD offers valuable insights into vision therapy and its role in addressing vision problems that can affect reading abilities in children.

  3. Optometry Times – Optometry Times provides articles and updates on vision-related topics, including the impact of undiagnosed vision problems on children’s reading skills.

  4. All About Vision – All About Vision is a comprehensive resource for eye health information, covering topics such as vision problems, vision therapy, and the importance of early intervention for children.

  5. Vision Therapy Success Stories – This website shares success stories and testimonials about the benefits of vision therapy, showcasing real-life examples of how it can improve reading difficulties caused by vision problems in children.

Questions About: Undiagnosed Vision Problems

Question 1: My child hates reading. Could it be more than just disliking the activity? 

Answer: Absolutely. Dislike for reading can stem from underlying vision problems that make the act difficult and frustrating, even if your child has good eyesight.

Question 2: How do I know if vision problems are causing the issue, not lack of focus?

Answer: Common signs include losing place when reading, frequent headaches, difficulty copying from the board, or avoiding reading-related activities. However, these can overlap with focus issues, which is why specialized testing is crucial.

Question 3: My child’s regular eye doctor says their vision is fine. Should I get a second opinion?

Answer: If reading struggles persist despite good eyesight, yes. Traditional eye exams don’t assess the complex system of visual skills needed for reading. A behavioral or developmental optometrist has specialized tools to uncover these issues.

Question 4: What exactly is a behavior or developmental optometrist?

Answer: These optometrists specialize in diagnosing and treating the root causes of vision-related learning problems. They go beyond eyesight checks to evaluate how your child’s eyes and brain work together to process visual information.

Question 5: Are the vision issues you mentioned treatable?

Answer: Yes! Vision therapy offers a highly successful, non-invasive approach. It’s like targeted exercises to train the eyes and brain for better visual processing and coordination.

Question 6: How does vision therapy actually work?

Answer: Vision therapy uses customized activities and specialized equipment to strengthen specific visual skills. Think of it as brain training for the eyes to work more efficiently, making reading easier.

Question 7: How long does vision therapy typically take?

Answer: While it varies, treatment generally involves between 20-40 regular sessions over several months for optimal results.

Question 8: Will my child need glasses too?

Answer: Possibly, but not always. Vision therapy focuses on the brain-eye connection, while glasses correct eyesight. Your optometrist will determine if both are needed.

Question 9: Does insurance cover vision therapy?

Answer: Unfortunately, we do not take insurance.

Question 10: How do I schedule an appointment for my child at the Visual Processing Institute?

Answer: You can call us directly 424-407-3303 to schedule a comprehensive eye and vision exam.